One Pink Toothbrush

Welcome to One Pink Toothbrush, where I will be posting moments from my days as a mum and as a wife. Funny moments, messy moments, thoughtful moments, teary moments.... and hopefully using each moment to see what God might be saying.



Saturday, 26 February 2011

Amazing Grace...

The husband came home from work the other day and asked me how my day had been. Now I know perfectly well that from the tone I was using, and the slightly heavy cupboard-door closing that was going on in the kitchen, that he could assess for himself how my day had been. And maybe that was what had even prompted him to ask.  

I proceeded to tell him my day had been rubbish and that I had been a rubbish mum. The husband deals very well with these slight over exaggerations of mine. Firstly he gives me a hug, because it's his love language. Secondly he asks the boys if they can think of any ways they may have caused 'fun mum' to turn into 'slightly crabby mum'. After they have said sorry, he then asks me if there is anything I need to repent of. And lastly he says "Grace". I'm usually slightly annoyed with him by this point. My pride doesn't want me to repent. And my self pity wants me to wallow and write the whole day off.

However the husband is right. And he's right because he understands Grace. He has read up on it and he has listened to Terry Virgo's four talks on it. http://kingschurch.org.nz/?s=virgo So after eating a little chocolate and thinking that might help me. And after wasting some time in front of the TV, thinking that might help me. I asked the husband to pray for me and I listened to the first talk.

Wow! The more I understand what living by grace actually means, the more releasing it is. The more freeing it is. The more wonderful it is. To know that God accepts and loves me completely as I am and that I cannot earn righteousness by being 'Super mum'. Neither can I lose it by being 'Crabby mum'. Righteousness is a free gift. I may have made a few bad decisions throughout the day which I need to repent of, but that doesn't change how my father in heaven views me. It doesn't mean I am a 'rubbish mum'. It means I am a sinner who needs grace. And that grace is available to me. (To be continued...)
    
"For if, by the sin of the one man, death reigned through that one man,
       how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace
and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ."
                                                                                   Romans 5v17

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

"Aint No Mountain High Enough"

My boys are being taught many things by the husband. Two of these are climbing and risk taking, which seem to go hand in hand. My eldest will spot the highest part of a park and set himself the challenge to reach it and then wave at me. I then have to casually wave back without any fear on my face, take a photo and smile at the other mums who are relieved its not their child. Seeing as he's the eldest, he often sets the example to his three brothers. So I find the 5yr old at the top of the shed, the baby on top of the DVD cupboard, and when we drive past the new stadium being built, the 3yr old proudly claims that he will one day climb it!

It got me thinking that my eldest especially, doesn't really see the limitations in things. I recently heard Keith Hazel preach on limitations. And how we shouldn't allow limitations to restrict us. Joseph was sold into slavery and ended up in prison for years, but didn't allow these limitations to limit his belief in God or God's destiny for him.

I often hide behind limitations, and I see others doing the same. We hide behind limitations of our character, of our feelings, or how tired we are, or the impossibility of things in the natural, or how many kids we have. We hide behind the limitations the enemy may whisper to us. We hide behind the limitations of finance, or we let limitations direct our prayer life.

The bible is very clear on limitations. I've been reading Mark recently, where I've been struck by the way people refused to let limitations stop them from getting a touch from Jesus. When a paralyzed man wanted a touch from Jesus, he and his four friends didn't allow a busy room to be a limitation. They climbed on the roof and dug their way through and lowered him down in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He healed the man and forgave His sins.

God has been challenging me lately to pray through limitations. It's really helping me to keep my view point focused not on the hopeless situation or my limitations but on a limitless God.

        Jesus looked at them and said,
           “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
                                                                                                    Matthew 19v26

        Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,
           nor his ear too dull to hear.
                                                                                                     Isaiah 59:1

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The 3yr Old Crashed The Car; How Do You Tell The Husband?

Yesterday I spent the morning writing a comic with my eldest about Team Super; a group of Super heroes who save the world by firing bogeys onto a volcano to put out the lava. Followed by 2 hours at the dentist, playing 'I Spy' with the boys using the other people in the waiting room as topics for I spying;  like "N for that man's nostrils". This morning I spent an hour in a cold and wet park, running up and down the zip wire path, pushing my own kids and three random french kids, before bribing all four little people with doughnuts and drinks to do the supermarket shop with me. And this afternoon, I had to ring the husband to ask what the appropriate punishment was for a three year old who crashed our car?! He had climbed over the front seat and somehow managed to put the handbrake down with his foot, so the car quickly rolled down the car park into a metal bar. I then had to listen to the husband say it wasn't a punishable offence, as it wasn't an act of disobedience; it was an accident and accidents happen.

God is so good. But today I can't quite put my finger on the one particular God moment to highlight in this blog post, perhaps someone else will have some insight or a verse to sum it up?

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Fifi shows me up!

I sometimes have the joy of hearing how Roary, Timmy, Harry, Charlie and Stingy are getting on. The delightful world of Children's Television! Yesterday, Fifi and her Flower Tot friends were making pancakes and having harmonious kitchen fun together. But Stingo, the slightly self absorbed wasp was stealing the pancakes! Terrible thing to do in the Flower Tot Garden! However, at the end of the programme Stingo had said sorry and asked if he was allowed to eat the pancakes with his friends. And good old Fifi let him share the pancakes and harmonious kitchen fun was resumed.

And then it hit me! Fifi, the pretend children's  T.V character had done a better job of forgiving her light fingered wasp friend, than I had done last night with one of my sons. He had done something wrong so he was disciplined. He said he was sorry, and I said he was forgiven. But over dinner I bought the incident up again and was still cross with him about it. I had not let go of it. I had said I had forgiven him, but it turns out I hadn't. I had not showed him what true forgiveness looked like, therefore I had not modelled Jesus' forgiveness to him.

We talked about Fifi's example of forgiveness, which to my shame had been better than my own, and I said I was sorry. My son forgave me properly, and harmonious kitchen fun was resumed.

     "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked,  
           “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister
       who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
           Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
                                                                  Matthew 18v21-22

    "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you,
           your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
     But if you do not forgive others their sins,
          your Father will not forgive your sins."
                                                                  Matthew 6v14-15

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Tonka, Me and a Boy of Three

I sometimes find myself trying to find that serene tranquil moment so that I can pray. But then I remember I live with 4 boys aged seven, five, three and 19months. And they are just not the serene type. Neither is the husband the most calm and peaceful man. He's more the 'rough and tumble', roar at the kids, play dodgeball at them, act out "The Walls of Jericho" and dance to loud music type!

So I live with that daily challenge of  Urgent vs Important. When the baby goes down for his battery recharge and his much needed oasis from the 3 year old's fun. I wonder what I should do? Should I empty the dishwasher so its ready for the dinner dishes? Should I hoover? Should I play with the 3 year old? Should I bless the husband and actually sort out a cupboard? Should I watch Toy Story again? Should I tidy the toys? Should I put the washing away? Should I pray?

Today I decided to pace the kitchen and pray for twenty minutes. And what a wonderful twenty minutes it was. As I walked up and down the kitchen praying, I was soon followed by a Tonka truck and an ambulance. At first I wished for peace and quiet so that I could press in to God's presence. But with each step I took, I was followed by smaller steps and I realized that it was a special moment. The little boy following me, with Tonka and nee naw in tow, was in God's presence with me, hearing my prayers. And for a few steps he prayed too. Reminding me again to demonstrate to my children, that my relationship with Jesus is real in every moment.

       "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;
            tie them as symbols on your hands
            and bind them on your foreheads.
       Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home
           and when you walk along the road,
           when you lie down and when you get up."
                                                    Deuteronomy 11v18-19

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Knickers!

I was recently challenged by one of my friends. She is one of those friends that God has put in my life who is the “Iron sharpening Iron”  type from Proverbs 27. I have a few of these. They are the friends who listen to my sighs. And after the understanding nod or two, they lovingly tell me to stop sighing and be grateful. They are the ones who gently point out the sin in my life, the ones that tell me to love my husband selflessly, the ones that listen but wont allow me to wallow, the ones that remind me why I am to keep training my kids and these friends are a blessing, even if its through gritted teeth at times.


So my sharp friend asked me how i was planning to be lovely to my husband on that day. And I hadn't really realized, but I was subconsciously planning to be a little mellow dramatic and needy when he got home. Afterall I'd been with the kids all day and now it was his shift; his turn to care for me and deal with the little people. But when I received her text asking such a question, it changed things around. It helped me have a different mindset. It made me actually plan to be lovely to him. And not to be selfish as if my needs were a higher priority. I was very grateful for my friend's gentle prompting. (And the husband was grateful too!)

In a women's prayer group recently, someone had the following picture;  "Imagine you came out of the toilet with your skirt tucked in your knickers - Hopefully no one in the room would let you walk around for the rest of the day like that. Hopefully they would be brave enough and compassionate enough to point it out to you." In the same way, we should be brave enough to say when we see each other with missing parts of the Armour of God. We should be able to tenderly point out to a friend, that they are letting themselves be exposed and remind them to put on each part of The Armor of God talked about in Ephesians 6. Of course there's the other side to the challenge... I do want to be the friend brave enough and compassionate enough to point things out to my sisters, but i want to also be willing to allow someone else to talk into my life, and tell me when i'm about to walk out with my skirt tucked into my knickers.    

                   "As iron sharpens iron,
                       so one person sharpens another."
                                                  Proverb 27v17



Saturday, 12 February 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made...that's me!

I am not known for my knitting and sewing skills like some of my friends are. They have days out at craft fayres and have knitting evenings. They produce wonderful quilts and cute little animals.  I once made a puppet out of a sock, but i'm not that counts as skillful workmanship!

I am reading through Exodus at the moment and I am struck by the attention to detail in how the tabernacle was designed and made. The curtains of fine twined linen, the blue and purple yarns with cherubim skillfully woven into them, the cubits, the gold, the Acacia wood... It is an amazing design, so precise in colour and size and numbers of clasps and hoops.

And it causes me to dwell on God's beautiful creativity. He is the ultimate in Grand Design. He is by far the best at the finishing touches. He uses the best material. He takes His time. (Or He does it in a miraculous moment). He carefully considers what is to be made. He cares about the smallest detail whilst keeping the end result in His mind. I see creation around me and it causes me to worship Him. And then i am encouraged to dwell on the fact that He created me. How loved and special i feel that the Lord who required the tabernacle in Exodus to be made with such beauty and detail, also designed me!

     "For you created my inmost being;
             you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
       I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
             your works are wonderful,

      I know that full well."
                                   Psalm 139v13-14

Friday, 11 February 2011

Guinea Pigs and Bowling Balls

Okay, so after an afternoon of birthday bowling and McDonalds with eight boys, I am finding the energy levels lacking slightly. The house is full of new boxes; science kits, magic kits, art kits, kitchen experiments kits, and a few empty rolls of Ben10 and Mario wrapping paper discarded everywhere. I now find myself watching a DVD with four boys (2 of which aren't mine). The film seems to be about guinea pigs who are spies, who are currently being chased by a coffee maker. The guinea pig's 'turbo powered running balls' have not managed to hold the husband's attention as he appears to be asleep under a Buzz Lightyear duvet on the floor.

I spent last night wrapping gifts and blowing up balloons. I spent this morning molding and shaping icing to cover a Millenium Falcon attempt of a birthday cake. I spent lunchtime realizing once again I was out of bread (and alas even out of hot cross buns and cheese strings) So I fed the two little sons random party food. I spent the afternoon keeping an eye on the baby as he attempted to be a bowling ball, and on the three year old as he was realizing the power he had over automatic doors.

I spent yesterday chatting with a friend while we both wore elephant masks, even when the children weren't making us do so anymore. I look back at the range of things I do with my days and as messy as the house is and as crazy as my 'To do' list often is, I find myself feeling grateful. I am grateful for my boys. How different my life would be without it all. It's quite easy to feel grateful after a fun day with them. But i am also aware of how grateful I am just to have them.

"Children are a heritage from the LORD,
   offspring a reward from him."
                                             Psalm 127v3

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Refreshed

So I find myself this evening not exhausted. I'm not drinking coffee by the ladle. I don't have bags under my eyes. My top isn't filthy. My hands don't have glue on them. I'm not dressed as a superhero. I don't have Ben10 sellotaped to my back. I'm not struggling to stay awake. I haven't got paint under my finger nails. I haven't got yoghurt in my hair. I'm not licking Calpol off my fingers and neither am I talking to the husband in the manic way I sometimes do, as if he's the only adult I have ever seen, which is sometimes the reality of mumming.

And how do I find myself in this energized state? A child free weekend is how. A whole weekend without the beloved four. Instead I found myself having time with the husband and with friends, a glass of Baileys, 2 nights of uninterrupted sleep, dinner prepared by another, and more importantly time in God's presence to soak in His lavish promises for me.

How wonderful to rest in His goodness. How wonderful to rest beside quiet waters. How wonderful to be refreshed in his blessings. How wonderful to dwell upon His undeserved grace for me. How wonderful to be prayed for and encouraged. How wonderful to feel strengthened and envisioned. How wonderful to live in the joy of God's promises. But it's easy to do it in this setting. The challenge comes tomorrow morning. Will I still remember God's promises then? Or will I forget when I'm no longer feeling fresh? I need to remember He remains faithful to his promises no matter what my day looks like. I cannot live on the good of the weekend. I need to daily seek to spend time in His presence and His word, reminding myself of and living in the truth of His promises. This is the only way I will daily feel refreshed, even when I'm in the thick of it. 

"The law of the LORD is perfect,
   refreshing the soul."
                        Psalm 19v7
                

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Eating little and often...

So we steal a lot of parenting tips from others who have gone before us. It's easier than coming up with our own ideas, and if it works for others, it may just work for me. If it doesn't work after I've tried it, I can tweak it or reject it. I like parents who are real about stuff, not pretending all is wonderful all the time, cos we all know it's not.

I read PJ Smyth's blog on parenting today. (GodFirst Blog) The part I read was about having family devotion times. PJ said he reads a story or a verse to his kids, and then asks them what bit they liked best? What they can learn from it? What does it mean for them? And the whole thing takes about 5 minutes. 
5 MINUTES!! Well, that's do-able. Then they pray... please prayers, thank you prayers, 'person next to you prayers' or popcorn prayers.

I felt so encouraged and inspired by it, and not just the inspiration which makes you feel good but inspiration you actually act on. It reminded me of something I had read once in "Barefoot in the kitchen" by Alie Stibbe. She talks about meditating on God's word all day long. She says that often we fast because we can't feast. I totally do that. I sometimes haven't got time to sit down and spend time properly in God's word, so I don't do it at all. I fast because I can't feast...but Alie's encouragement to us is that "eating little and often can be good for you". I always knew snacking was a good thing!

  "Oh, how I love your law!
   I meditate on it all day long.
 Your commands are always with me
   and make me wiser than my enemies.
 I have more insight than all my teachers,
   for I meditate on your statutes.
 I have more understanding than the elders,
   for I obey your precepts.
 I have kept my feet from every evil path
   so that I might obey your word.
 I have not departed from your laws,
   for you yourself have taught me.
 How sweet are your words to my taste,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth!
 I gain understanding from your precepts;
   therefore I hate every wrong path."
  Psalm 119v97-104